ART OF THE CALABASH
By Przemek Krawczyński
Light is kind of magic: insubstantial, yet visible. It is something that can change our material world and the way we perceive it in a thousand ways. After all, it is light that winds our body clock; it naturally boosts our mood and heals us.
The way in which light brightens up our lives has a profound influence on the way we perceive reality, feel and function. Light is often deprived of its magic and power, when it comes from an ill-conceived source.
However, when it seeps through thousands of holes of a gourd lamp’s spherical layer, the magic begins to happen: the light searches for the shortest way to the screen on which it leaves its trace. That screen is the world around us – walls, furniture, curtains. Suddenly it turns out that everything around us, everything we thought we knew by heart and everything that seemed so timeworn becomes the background for the scenery of unspoken beauty.
Greetings From Poland
My name is Przemek Krawczyński. I was born in 1983. I live in Łódź, the third largest city in Poland. Due to its industrial history, the city is quite particular. One cannot say it is beautiful, but definitely it has its charm.
I started making gourd lamps in 2009 when, for the first time in my life, I accidently came across the gourd fruit when my mother’s gardener friend gave her one as a gift. Gourds are not too popular in Poland, but some of its varieties can be cultivated in our climate. Creating gourd lamps is nothing new. One of the first types I encountered were photos of Turkish hanging lamps. I decided to make one for my room. I liked it, so I found more gourds for new lamps. Soon, it evolved into my hobby and passion, for which, nearly one year later, I gave up my studies in polytechnic and job in an architectural design studio.
Although I have always had artistic inclinations, first and foremost, I have a scientific mind. I studied building engineering.However, in 2010 I decided to quit my studies and job and
devote my energy to doing something I loved the most. Just after that, I made a trip to Senegal from where I brought African calabashes. Since then, they have become the raw material for my lamps.
What Is This Calabash Gourd?
The gourd is the annual tropical vine originating from Africa and Asia. Its dried, lignified fruits are used for both decorative and practical purposes. There are several dozen varieties of gourds, differing mostly in shapes and sizes.The structure of a dried gourd is entirely different than the structure of the standard wood. It is more homogenous; it does not contain growth rings, fibers or knots. The external layer of the gourd is harder than the deeper one of a light wood. For that matter, the gourd is kind of a phenomenon in nature; it is the raw material that gives enormous processing possibilities. In the past, I was using two varieties of gourds growing in Poland. After my trip to Senegal, I have started creating them from the round African varieties called calabash, which grow on trees and ground.
By day, my lamp is a unique sculpture, while at night the light breathes new life into that sculpture, seeping through intricately carved wood and passing through thousands of holes. Flowing shadows fill the space and cast the patterns on the surrounding surfaces, which turns each interior into a scene of breathtaking spectacle. The hypnotizing light can create a dreamlike, romantic atmosphere in a bedroom as well as calm and peaceful vibes in a home office or living room. Regardless of the place, the play of light is a feast for the eyes. At every turn.
Depending on type and size, each lamp takes 2-4 months. I never repeat the patterns of my lamps. I want each lamp to be unique and one-of-a-kind. My lamps are quite fragile, which means they may break if they hit the floor. But that is just like with many other things in our houses, especially if they are pieces of art. Although the gourd wood is different than normal wood, as long as you keep them in a cool dry place, they can last for years.
The price of my lamps depends on their size, design and intricacy. Smaller lamps start at $2,500 USD and larger floor lamps are $7,000 to 9,000.
I welcome you to see more of my Calabarte at www.Calabarte.com.